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Moseley goes from moguls to bunkers

Mike Traum

Nagano and Edgewood are a half-planet apart. But Jonny Moseley seemed just as comfortable on the golf course’s fairways as on a Japanese mountain full of bumpy snow. The 1998 Olympic gold medalist mogul skier chipped in for birdie on the first hole and was just two-over par after seven holes Tuesday during a warm up round for the Isuzu Celebrity Golf Championship.

“I don’t play in the winter time, so I have to brush up on my game,” said Moseley, who will be just the second skier to play in the annual celebrity gathering scheduled July 10-12. “I’m psyched to be in the golf tournament, especially since there’s so many guns in it. I think we should take a vote who I should be paired with. I never thought a freestyle mogul skier would be on the same golf course as a bunch of heavy-hitting stars.”

Admittedly, Moseley doesn’t play as much golf as he’d like to, especially with skiing becoming an all-encompassing profession. But the charismatic, athletic natural is confident his game will be ready for prime time – or at least adequate.

“I was in a coffee shop and ran into this guy while standing in line who’s a golf coach. So I was like, ‘Dude, let’s go.’ I’ve been out with the coach almost every day so I don’t make a fool out of myself,” said Moseley, a right-hander who swings a golf club left-handed. “I like my swing and I’ve been hitting the ball well. Hopefully, I’ll get out there and have a good time with it. Secondly, I’ll try to hold up my end of it for skiers.”

Tournament public relations should benefit mightily from Moseley’s presence, according to public relations director Phil Weidinger.

“He’s doing OK. I think I’d stay behind him on the first tee. That’s the only one,” joked Weidinger, who joined Moseley in the practice round. “The guy is a heck of an athlete and it’s showing through. Plus he’s a fresh face out here and a guy whose going to bring in a lot of people. And he’s a nice guy. The younger crowd will be following him and he’ll have some fun with them out here.”

Added Moseley, “I don’t know what it’s going to be like to be in front of a gallery and have people watching. But I can use my same techniques from skiing to try and calm my nerves. I’m just hoping to get off the first tee. I’m used to being in front of crowds, so that’s going to help. I’m just looking to save some skiing face.”

Moseley, 22, was playing Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course for the first time. A part-time resident of Squaw Valley since he was a child, he will be the first home-grown participant in the Tahoe event.

Incline Village resident and big-league pitcher Dave Stieb played in 1995, tying for 30th place.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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